Apr 28, 2010 11:37 am
I live in an estate with a so-called "Owners Corporate" which apparently is there so that it "protects our investment".
WHAT A CROCK!!!
The only problem is that we are getting nowhere with them. Our neighbourhood is littered with houses with knee high weeds scattered through the front yards, and whilst we have guidelines that clearly state that there are to be x amount of plants in the front yard and x amounts of trees, nextdoor for instance has just one living plant, and knee high weeds suffocating the entire space. They don't care about the OC regulations, they've said as much.
I've spoken to the OC and emailed them photos, they refuse to involve the owner, rather they just keep sending out breach notices to the agent and tenant, and don't do anything at all about it after that step. (They are supposed to send out a gardener to deal with it if nothing changes within a reasonable time ... but are yet to act!)
Anyone else have problems with such a powerless and unwilling group?
Where does this leave us?? What can we do about it legally, every time they send their invoices, can we rightfully refuse to pay them given that for the past year and a half, (at least) we have lived nextdoor to an absolute eyesore, a snake hazard, it's just embarrassing when visitors come over.
I have done all the weed spraying on more than one occasion of their driveway side garden, as it's throwing seeds all through my front yard. Last weekend we re-mulched, and ended up using around a metre of our mulch to cover the side of their driveway that neighbours our property. Reason being, we have had enough, and we are building a new house in a long established more expensive part of the neighbourhood, and we're about to put this house on the market.
In the interim though, is anyone else out there dissatisfied with the lack of effort put in to their neighbours' gardens? Is it just the first-homebuilder estates, or is it a problem everywhere?
I'm certainly not saying that everybody should all have designer gardens, I'm just saying that it's really not that hard to have weed-free, neat garden beds, and to put in a little bit of effort here and there to keep the front of your property looking nice.
Re: Neighbours Gardens and Owners Corps - a vent2
Apr 28, 2010 12:49 pm
Unfortunately its hard to make other people do what we want them to, if its not important to them
We have same issue here with some new houses - according to our guidleines, front yards must be landscaped within 6 months of moveing in - but some houses have been lived in for couple of years and havent dont it yet
In our case, aside from the fact it is not policed at all, there was also no definition of what constitutes " landscaping" - our immediate neighbours just have a pebble garden - I mean, literally just pebbles - not a plant or anything else in it .
I appreciate that not everyone is into gardening for various reasons but their yard is only small, would look much better even with a large feature statue in the centre.
But, hey at least its neat and not dirt or weeds - and they did take their stones right up to our driveway even though a good foot of that is actually our land and didnt charge us for it. Looks much better than a narrow strip being different.
On the other hand, the garden on our side of the driveway which is about 16m wide, (not including the driveway) looks excellent if I say so myself, pebble base (have to really with water restrictions here) and over 20 healthy well tended shrubs and ground covers, not a weed in sight (I love my garden )
Re: Neighbours Gardens and Owners Corps - a vent3
Apr 28, 2010 1:44 pm
OC's are a head ache agreed. Ive always lived in apartments and its not fun. Thats why we are building body corp free. I cant be bothered with anyone else's problems anymore!
In saying that if you live with a Owners Corp. you are entitled to have the rules acted upon appropriately and within a timely manner.
Hopefully you have kept all correspondence to and from the OC manager. I would request copies of the breach notices sent to the tenants/owner/agent. You as a member of the OC are entitled to see them. (Apart from the fact most lease agreements on houses have in it that the tenant will ensure the garden is kept.) I would also at the same time request a copy of the estate rules. Im sure you already have a copy but ask for it anyway this is to show your not stupid and you know the rules are the rules and if asking for them refreshes the OC managers memory that they need to act, good!
As you say the gardens form part of the rules and you would be correct in thinking that the OC manager is somewhat required to send a gardner and pass the invoice onto the owner as part of the fee notice if there has been 3 breach notices.
If they have sent more than 3 breaches and your OC manager is not willing to take it further you are entitled to request the OC manager to take the issue to VCAT. If the OC manager is not willing to take the issue to VCAT which they really cant refuse if the breaches have been given and there is a person with a complaint, you. You can apply to VCAT yourself, it would be on two issues being your OC manager unwilling to act and your neighbor, the owner, not abiding by OC rules even after breach notices.
VCAT is a government body with the authority to act and have their actions fulfilled. It costs about $35 do lodge a complaint/file with them and you don't need legal representation. Really your OC manager should attend on your behalf (which may incur a fee from the OC managing company) to have the owner fix the garden/pay an invoice. But if your needing to take the managing company to VCAT you will need to attend.
Im sure it wouldn't come to that simply because your OC manager is not performing their job correctly if they dont follow up on the rules and have the garden rectified and invoiced to the owner. Its simple.
So if they have sent 3 breach notices simply (in writing/email) remind your OC manager of their dusty to have the rules adhered too and that you expect the garden to be cleared and the invoice sent onto the owner asap to ensure the matter is not required to be heard by VCAT.
Im sure once you start mentioning VCAT to have rules adhered too things should get moving.
Helped hopefully, without too much blah blah.
Re: Neighbours Gardens and Owners Corps - a vent4
Apr 28, 2010 3:57 pm
If you're interested in the result rather than the process, then offer to mow their lawn just before you have an open house.
Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.
- Dale Carnegie
Re: Neighbours Gardens and Owners Corps - a vent5
Apr 29, 2010 2:33 am
Yep, well said Cabin fever.
You are just going to have to roll up your sleeves and tidy it yourself.
Re: Neighbours Gardens and Owners Corps - a vent6
Apr 29, 2010 9:47 am
Yep, that's what we're going to do. We'll still follow it up with the OC, however when the house is put on the market in a month or so, we'll just do it ourselves.
Only problem - they have one of those rock gardens, no lawn ... so the entire garden will be whipper snipped and the crap will all be dumped on their naturestrip.
Funny though how estates with OC's and "rules" don't ever really seem to be followed up on.
I really wouldn't recommend living in an estate with an OC after the crap around here!
Re: Neighbours Gardens and Owners Corps - a vent7
Apr 29, 2010 10:27 am
If you don't like the way the owners corporation is being run - do something about it.
Do you attend the meetings? Have you nominated yourself at the AGM to be on the executive?
Not sure how it works in your state, however in NSW you can make an application to take the executive to mediation if you are not happy with what they are or are not doing.
In my experience, OC's are a good thing - so long as you keep them accountable.
Re: Neighbours Gardens and Owners Corps - a vent8
Apr 29, 2010 2:57 pm
In WA you can complain to your local council. They'll send out a notice giving the owner something like 14 days to correct the problem or else the council will carry out the work and invoice them. There might be something similar in NSW.
Re: Neighbours Gardens and Owners Corps - a vent9
Apr 29, 2010 7:25 pm
Mrs G - it happens in other areas too - the unit we're in is 20 years old and is in an established area - we are conjoined to the neighbours house (our garage wall is their loungeroom wall) and we don't have a fence in between our driveway and their front yard.
Our lovely neighbour collects METAL things to take to scrap yards for cash... there have been numerous occasions when there have been 4 old washing machines, 3 old fridges, a dryer old hot water services... all piled up in his front yard after local hard rubbish collection ready for him to load up his ute and cash in!! (his latest front yard ornament is a 6 seater dining room table with METAL chairs that are all rusting)
Aaarrrrggghh - we have our place on the market too it's very painful to know that people will be seeing these types of things that are beyond our control - I feel your pain and it sucks.
(EDIT - spelling error)
Moved into our Atlantique MkII 36 by Carlisle Homes
Re: Neighbours Gardens and Owners Corps - a vent10
Apr 29, 2010 8:55 pm
I agree with rubber_noggin, however, you could take it a step further...
In NSW you can make an application to the CTTT (Consumer Trading & Tenancy Tribunal) to either force the Owners Corporation to act by way of an order or you could apply for an order against a particular owner. These orders are legally binding and if ignored the relevant party can wind up in court facing hefty penalties.
I would be pretty sure in your state you have a similar body.
Built a (highly) modified Allcastle Maxworth 38.7 in Sydney.
Re: Neighbours Gardens and Owners Corps - a vent11
May 14, 2010 8:43 am
Boiselfish, thankyou for your very awesome advice!
We put some heavy pressure on them after I read that, and from our words, they have applied major pressure to the owner nextdoor and he has "apparently" (i say that as I don't believe a word they say now!) agreed to relandscape the hideous mess.
On Monday night a meeting was held, the OC acknowledged that they had well and truly failed in a dismal way when it came to our nextdoor neighbour, however when they said that the relandscaping had been agreed on, I wanted to hit them.
Purely because of these idiots not doing anything about it when they were in the power to, we've bought land elsewhere, and we're building again - at significant expense to us ... the only good thing that will come of it is that we're away from the estate.
Our house is now on the market, but again, thankyou, for without your advice, I would not have been able to apply pressure like that.
And if this thread has helped anyone else, I thank you on behalf of them also!
*Those of you saying join the OC, you actually can't, they are a paid group that is external to anyone that lives in the estate... we have a Residents Committee which I already have a lot of communications with, but that's about as far as it goes as far as joining them.
YAY GOOD RESULT!
*Oh, and we did go out and do the weeding there before the house went on the market, and believe it or not, the lazy buggers just sat inside. But we knew they'd do that anyway!
Re: Neighbours Gardens and Owners Corps - a vent12
May 14, 2010 8:57 am
I'm glad it worked out for you Mrs G.... I cannot believe the gall of your neighbours, sitting on their butts while you weeded their garden.
I'd actually never heard of an owner's corporation before - what a bizarre concept, if the owners can't actually join or run the thing. My mother moved into a unit in a small block of five a few years back, and wasn't happy with the gardener who was employed to take care of the common areas. Once she started investigating how to sort that out, things snowballed. It turned out that the manager of the body corporate was doing two-thirds of stuff-all for his money, no meetings, no communication with the owners at all. She got on her high horse and had the gardener sacked, the manager of the body corporate sacked and the new guy is fantastic. Four out of the five owners meet regularly now, the spouting has been repainted, fences replaced and everything is in spanking order.
Sometimes it pays to complain.
Good luck with your new home!
Built PD Bridgeport 35; moved in December 2008.
Moving on up
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